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South America trip Part 3 - Lima, Coquimbo, & Valparaiso

Part 3 - South America Trip Update Lima, Peru – Ship docked in Callao, the harbor of Lima Lima is massive. Population is almost 10,000,000. There are three main areas—Plaza San Miguel neighborhood, Miraflores, the upscale neighborhood, and the historical old city. They are all about 30 minutes from each other by automobile or bus. According to ship personnel, Callao, the port of Lima, is too dangerous for tourists to walk in so a complimentary shuttle bus took passengers into the Plaza San Miguel, which is a large, modern, shopping mall, about a 25-minute ride from the ship. Wi-fi was available at a Starbucks there so passengers and crew members filled the place. From the Plaza, Greta and I rode a local bus to Miraflores. The ride was less than a buck. From there, we hopped a double-decker red bus for a three-hour tour of the historic old city of Lima, which included a 45-minute stop at San Francisco cathedral and its catacombs, which are beneath the church. At one time, the bones of up 45,000 people were located there.

Lima Per building advertising

Advertising as seen from the double-decker tour bus in Lima

After the tour, it took us three hours to get back the ship. On the local buses in Lima, they pack you in tighter than a can of sardines, and then, they squeeze in a few more. We were on our feet for nearly 50 minutes without moving an inch. Not bad for a couple in their upper 70’s getting out there and experiencing the very crowded city of Lima.

Besides our tour bus tickets, we spent only $10 ashore that day. Coquimbo and La Serena, Chile

Flag of Chile

Flag of Chile

Chile is the longest country in the world—2,647 miles long with nearly 4,000 miles of coastline. Mountains cover 80% of the land. Coquimbo is a busy port. Pelicans were perched on the rooftop of a nearby fish market, patiently awaiting scraps from fish being cleaned. We spotted a giant shopping mall. Free wi-fi, decent signal. Enjoyed a local specialty there--hotdog covered with guacamole. Took a roundtrip locals bus to another port city, La Serena, for 40 cents each. More civilized than the Lima locals bus. The area around the port of Coquimbo had nice statues and is being developed into a hip, modern neighborhood.

Coquimbo Chile piano key steps

Colorful Coquimbo, Chile, port area is developing. Notice the steps are painted like a piano keyboard Port of San Antonio. Gateway to Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile. Cruise ships used to dock in Valparaiso, but authorities feel cargo ships are more profitable so now cruise ships must dock 1 ½ to two hours from Valparaiso and Santiago. Limits your time in these two great cities. The ship offered a roundtrip shuttle bus with a guide on board to Valparaiso for $63 each. We took it and enjoyed three hours in that port city of 450,000. We purchased a bottle of Chilean chardonnay at a liquor store called Dr. Drunkand enjoyed lunch at a restaurant, La Rotondo, in the financial district. Waiters wore white shirts, ties, and vests. Valparaiso has 14 old funiculars that ascend the steep hills of the city. We took funicular El Peral. Two minutes up, two minutes down—400 pesos (less than a buck total). What fun.

El Peral funicular Valparaiso Chile

One (El Peral) of 14 funiculars in the hilly city of Valparaiso, Chile

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